News broke of the arrest of Alhaji Aliyu Tashaku, a Security Aide to Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, by men of the Special Forces of the Nigerian military
The military in a statement labelled him an operative of the dreaded Boko Haram terrorist group, saying he has been responsible for gathering intelligence for the group and co-ordinating their attacks in the state leading to massive losses in lives and properties.
Aliyu Tashaku, until his arrest, was known to be very close to Gov. Ortom and functioned prominently in very powerful positions, not only as a Security Aide to the governor, but was the Chairman of the Civilian Joint Task Force as well as Commander of the Livestock Guards set up by the Ortom administration to oversee the enforcement of the Anti-Open Grazing Law passed in the state.
But following his arrest, loyalists of the governor have been running from pillar to post trying to distance him from Aliyu Tashaku, with their main argument being that the governor inherited him from his predecessor, former Governor, Gabriel Suswam.
However, facts on ground point to the contrary, as It can nowhere be established that Suswam ever knew Aliyu Tashaku, or did he at any time engage him in any position of responsibility.
It is on record that the now alleged Boko Haram terrorist was during the Suswam administration appointed by Police authorities into the joint Peace and Security Committee comprising persons from Benue and Nasarawa states, Fulani and Tiv inclusive.
His membership of that committee and whatever role he held on it was solely at the behest of the Police authorities, who were wholly responsible for the operations of the committee which was directly answerable to them.
On assumption of office as Governor, Ortom immediately vested sensitive security responsibilities to Aliyu Tashaku who hails from the same Nongov ethnic stock as the governor.
Throughout the course of this administration to the time of his arrest, the alleged Boko Haram operative has always been touted as been a powerful member of the governor’s inner circle of officials, and it’s just in line with the character of loyalists of this administration to try to pin everything negative on former governor, Suswam.
But pertinent questions which such Ortom loyalists failed to contemplate include that, if the incumbent governor was so inclined to absorbing and preserving policies and personnel left behind by his predecessor, why did he not retain the 1st Class chiefs and even workers employed by the past administration?
It is sad that this arrest of Aliyu Tashaku and previous security disasters in the Ortom administration, such as assassinations of govt. functionaries, the failed amnesty of Terwase Akwaza (Gana), only point to the fact that the governor has since assumption of office placed every foot wrong in terms of Security.
Trying desperately now to dodge the stinking smear of the alleged identity of Aliyu Tashaku as a Boko Haram terrorist and foist him on Suswam only worsens the situation for Gov. Ortom.
Bemgba Iortyom, a concerned Benue Citizen contributes this piece from Makurdi.